Israeli Leaders Welcome US Killing of Iranian General Soleimani, a Longtime Adversary of the Jewish State
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed on Friday the news of the death of Qassem Soleimani — a top Iranian general and key Tehran regime official — in a US air strike in Baghdad the previous night.
“Just as Israel has the right of self-defense, the United States has exactly the same right,” Netanyahu told reporters in Athens, before boarding a plane to head home from visit to Greece that he cut short amid concerns that the Jewish state could be a target of Iranian retaliation.
Soleimani, Netanyahu pointed out, was “responsible for the death of American citizens and many other innocent people” and had been “planning more such attacks.”
“President Trump deserves all the credit for acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively,” the Israeli leader declared.
“Israel stands with the United States in its just struggle for peace, security and self-defense,” he concluded.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
“Just as Israel has the right of self-defense, the United States has exactly the same right.
Qassem Soleimani is responsible for the death of American citizens and many other innocent people. He was planning more such attacks. pic.twitter.com/tuCKQn0mbf
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) January 3, 2020
Benny Gantz, the head of Israel’s Blue and White party, said, “I applaud President Donald Trump for his decision to assassinate Qassem Soleimani and for his bold leadership at large. This is the appropriate response to anyone responsible for the murder of countless innocent people and for undermining global stability.”
“The message to the leaders of terrorism is strong and clear — you will be held accountable for your actions,” the ex-IDF chief of staff added.
חיסול סולימאני הוא מסר לראשי הטרור העולמי- דמכם בראשכם.
אני מברך את נשיא ארצות הברית טראמפ על ההחלטה המנהיגותית והאמיצה.
בביטחון המדינה אין קואליציה ואופוזיציה ובעת הזו, אני מצפה מכל ראשי המדינה להימנע מרמיזות הפוגעות בביטחון הלאומי. pic.twitter.com/zhYTJ7OPOk
— בני גנץ – Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) January 3, 2020
Since becoming the head of the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) more than two decades ago, Soleimani established himself as one of Israel’s main adversaries in the Middle East, as he sought to expand Iran’s influence in the region via the backing of proxies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Israel’s defense minister, Naftali Bennett, held a situational assessment with high-level military brass — including Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi — at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv on Friday morning.
Ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet were instructed not to speak with the media about Soleimani’s demise.
The Mount Hermon ski site — located in the northern Golan Heights, on the border with Syria — was closed on Friday due to the security tensions.